“Do what you love”: advice from Lincoln’s retiring business teacher


Ofelia Barritt

Lincoln’s business and marketing teacher, Ronald Waugh, shares his plans for after retirement.

Ofelia Barritt

Before business, Ronald Waugh’s first love was traveling. Fresh out of high school 18-year-old Waugh arrived in Germany, where he made friends, learned a language and perhaps developed an affinity for chocolate. Some may be surprised to learn that it was not business he initially majored in, but German. His love of travel landed him first in Amsterdam and later on in the warm beaches of Chile, where he still has a house and dogs. In Amsterdam, he worked for a chocolate company. In Chile, he became a partner at a consulting firm. He described his employment as “serendipitous,” a series of chance encounters leading him to each moment.

“I think everybody’s in the right place at the right time, we just have to be aware of it and look for [the opportunities],” he said.

Waugh went to visit Portland and ended up at Portland State University (PSU). About nine years ago, he started teaching part time at Lincoln as it was on the way to work at PSU. In the late summer, he got a call from Principal Peyton Chapman asking him to take a newly open business teacher position. He was a little nervous to start teaching high school, but has since changed his mind. 

“You hear all these horror stories about high school students, and I never experienced anything like that,” he said. “It’s just been a pleasure.” 

Having worked most of his life, Waugh finds it hard to imagine not waking up to the blaring sound of an alarm clock, “But I’m sure I’ll do something,” he said.

Perhaps he will follow in his father’s footsteps to teach adult literacy.

“I think that would be a real quality of life, helping people,” he said.

But for now he has reserved time to relax. He will spend at least six months swimming in warm oceans and exploring the streets of beautiful cities. Perhaps he will stop in Chile to catch up with friends and read a good book. From now on, the possibilities are endless, and he wants his students to have the same. 

“I can’t stress enough how wonderful life can be if you follow your heart,” he said. “Do what you love. And be the best version of yourself,” said Waugh.

His friendly demeanor and open style of teaching make him a pillar of the Lincoln community. It is safe to say Waugh will be missed.